If Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signs SB 357, then the state's loitering laws related to prostitution will be repealed. Pansy Watson, legal counsel for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), says that removes a tool police use to enforce the laws and help people involved in the trade.
"If they approach and they discover that the prostitute or person is 15, well then that's a trafficking victim that needs to be removed," Watson asserts. "Or if they see a man circling the block repeatedly, reaching out, talking to women, well that's probably a sex buyer that needs to be arrested for solicitation."
The current loitering laws give officers probable cause to approach and deal with such individuals, but if SB 357 is signed, then prostitution would essentially be legalized, as it would eliminate enforcement of the laws against it.
"They're essentially trying to find sort of a backdoor way of decriminalizing it," Watson reiterates. "This is done under the guise of police reform and concerns with police discriminating against certain kinds of people. I think those kinds of statements are very misleading and not how these laws are usually used."
So NCOSE is encouraging California residents to ask the governor to veto the measure.